Dear Kazim.

They thought I was asleep, but I heard her scream out at that star that may or may not have been a swollen airplane. She called it another place to live. She called it a high wire pause. Or was that me.


Dear Lidia.

I scrubbed my hands better than I have all year, before I plunged them into my body to rip out the mail. His name is ____________ and full of papercuts and improper postage. We are already in love.


Dear Rebel.

How about we stage a protest this year. Eat only syllables and postures. I will continue to challenge the disobedience of my breath and you can remind me that gender is a disco ball better left rotating.


Dear Poet.

You owe me a letter. But I will wait for your shadowboxing bellow. As I sit here, sore from an early morning bone stretch, no longer calling tomorrow a clean slate. Instead, a movement of magic.

a jar of queer feelings.

I am deeply excited to be a part of the beautiful queer journal, a jar of queer feelings put together by Sarah Magdalena Love.

Please support this eclectic collection of 36 artists and writers exploring family, sexuality, politics, gender and liberation through various art forms, personal essays and poetry. The ebook is officially out and a print version will be released in January 2014. All proceeds from sales will benefit Gendered Intelligence, a charity that fosters debates around gender, educates, organizes social events and raises awareness for the ways in which heteronormativity restricts everyone.

how many words are in your lexicon.

for  s.

She told me lovely. I mentioned exist. Another reminded me human. That one deep into Brooklyn said collarbones. He said sad, but clarified more of an exude than a vocalization.

How many words exist (see?) in my throat or lay dormant on my tongue (another one!) until another sits beside me to hear my sounds.

What decides the cut? Is it the music that occurs when each syllable or accent is accentuated? My least favorite word is wound. Is this because of the “oo” sound? As though something tragic is occurring?

She writes that maybe we can find our way back to each other through language. That when we lose one another, we can travel the roads that lead us back through vocabulary instilled on others. These parts of speech are contagious. And like most communicable diseases, it happens without even realizing when or how or where.

One human (there it is) I fell in love with added a “u” into my words and she gave me an accent, which I still enforce into some of my sentences. Another human introduced wicked, an adjective that made another cringe, so I did my best to drop it.

When I teach writing, I ask my students what makes up their glossary. I write all the accumulated (there goes another) words onto the chalkboard to see if there are any similarities. How many are nouns and are there any verbs? Mostly adjectives. I encourage them to purchase a thesaurus and practice replacing their “go to” words with their similarly defined counterparts.

If we stripped our tongues–like we strip our bodies–of words which weigh us down or define us, what is left. What words are we forgetting when we get lost inside the repetition of vocabulary.

notice what you notice on the Bowery (NYC)

graffiti_roofs_nyc_by_eligit-d5tklmw Chase men’s denim throughout [this] connection
grey and brown pigeon collects a love affair in the middle of the street
jumps toward traffic light when the green arrives
woman of red lips
swollen in window
I wait for her to notice me
she is mannequin
siren. horn. rubber against winter wet or confused spring
“what will you leave behind”
recover extension of organs
these are just lines
no one waits in them anymore
they are too busy
drawing them
a slice of orange
mural dripped into rocks borrowed for this moment
“there’s no constitution”
everything must go
woman in yellow neon runners
sits on groceries
rolling her addiction
a sink, an egg poacher, something called
a zen iced-tea maker
poet runs across street
this is the last time I saw her
ivy cannot be trusted
women wear pocketbooks as though they are men
slung over
branches like the death of Autumn in Liz’s garden
a yellow wrapper with twenty bites left of chocolate chip or raisin bran muffin
a pumpkin sacrificed for its color
these trees, like starved dancers bending backwards
these are the last of the leaves
notice the backs of her thighs
like lined paper
I have my words ready
do you think in haiku as well?
“I want this for breakfast”
I put my reflection of my body into her 
blue-sequined dress
even as a shadow
I am drag
when I have no one [left] to embrace
I notice everyone else is
this wind slants
yellow plastic caution drowned in Sunday puddle
“once you figure out what subway to take”
“should we do the softball pose? what kind of pose should we do?”

this may be the real thing.

“if i could be who you wanted/all the time…” –R H
I think I might have inhaled you/i can feel you behind my eyes –S
all along it was a feeling of fevers/ and this dizzy weaved circles of you/ even before and now  –A H
I can’t change/even if I tried/even if I wanted to  –M L
that I would be good /whether with or without you  –A M
how about this sleep that weeps through the feathers/ there are more doors and this floor has let loose its save   –A H

When is that moment where we decide to announce a feeling. So often we enter rooms full of humans of varying strengths and genders, inclinations and dents. How about we address the ones who cause our limbs to remember all the ways in which they can bend and speak.

I enter a room full of strangers. I was not invited, but brought along by a friend who was. I find a corner to lean into and spread my web of skin to cover me. I imagine myself as invisible, even with this hair and these poems on my skin. When I first notice this human, it is as though I am remembering my birth. It is as though I am taking my first breath, my ribs expand into a smile that only my flesh can feel. My eyes finally understand their parts: cornea, macula, iris, retina, optic nerve. I channel kundalini and hope that my exhales will be inhaled by them.

I let go of magic years ago, but in this moment I wonder what hides between us that can be turned into realism.

Label (noun):  small piece of paper, fabric, plastic/ sewn into garment/ instructions for care / classifying or clarifying phrase applied to a person or thing/ identifiable marker

I let go of these years ago. The only times I choose to label myself is to stick over the incorrect ones forced on me. My attractions to humans have wavered like Winter and can no longer be tracked or understood. It just is. I arrive at an attraction due to the words that speak out from their mouths rather than the shapes on their body that tell me what they are.

So this human stands beside me and cannot see the web I have threaded around me. I notice their lips, darker than mine. Not from lipstick but from the pigment of their family tree. Their chest is flat like I want mine to be. We speak about the competency of caffeine and efficacy of gender. Their hands are veiny like the most beautiful trees tangled by flexible branches. I want to ask them to use my dimples as a P.O. Box; to write letters and slip them in there. I want to tell them that I cannot be found on screens and much prefer paper. I want to hand them the stamps I keep in my notebook and extra pen and paper (not skin this time) and we can channel the decades when there were no outlets. I want to ask them to write me their morning. I want to ask them to sew me into their evening.

want to.

Instead, our knees remember each other even though this is the first time.

Instead, I eventually leave and write several poems that I wish had been birthed earlier.

I let go of magic many years ago. Too many hearts squeezed like lemons, burning open wounds. The pain of muscles trying to let another in. And then…..the eventual…..let go.

In the first hours of this new Winter, I search for them. Call out a line-up of lips and knees and hands and tongues, because I can recall the way they licked their top lip when they were cooking up a new sentence. I have become a sleuth. Sometimes one needs to be in order to believe in what Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about.


tell me again how to breathe.

“Love was a country we couldn’t defend.”  (G.A.I.)
All of this is just to say: pause. 

In this room called east, your oxygen will be guided from your nose. When ready, let it out through mouth. Stop. Remember the city behind your ribs. Breathe from there as well.

Channel the comma. There is balance as it tips its weight upwards. There is curvature; you can even address it as top-heavy. Give yourself room to interrupt the spaces that haunt you.

In this room called Brooklyn, you may run into panic. Channel the bicycle spokes that secretly live beneath your skin. Roll away. Climb mountains even when the land you walk over is flat. Pick flowers even in the Winter and instead of photographing, hand this stem of green and face of yellow to the first human you see. Breathe in the breaths they offer to you like invisible bouquets of carbon dioxide.

Now, this may not be as easy, but. Remain in this room called love. It is hardest to get out of and often includes a cover charge too intense to dig out of wallet. But you do. Because it is so deeply aromatic. Inhale that sandalwood. And ylang ylang. Press your tired, nervous thighs against this other. Stretch out numerics and reveal one thing that makes you bleed, one thing that guts the salt out of you and choose an adventure with this one, barefoot.

It is impossible to run very far when the calluses on your feet slow you down. So, slow down.

In this room called lonely, exist long enough to take a ticket. Rip it. Scoop up its entrails and throw away. Choose to be in love this time than surrounding its periphery.

But before all that or while, keep breathing. Walk in and out and in these rooms and inhale and exit and exhale. And remain. (You often forget that part.)

performance of pop art and pop-up poetic bodies

Come to an evening of pop-up art, fashion, music and poetry. Sunday, 22 December. from 5pm-10pm at Greenwich Project 47 W. 8th St. NYC.  $10

This will be a unique evening of live music, a range of poets and performance art, fashion, and art to peruse and purchase.

I will be performing a collaborative performance piece with poet, Nichole Acosta, called SKIN (graffiti poetics), which envisions the body as a construction site or building to be tagged and poeticized. Audience members are encouraged to write words on our bodies as a way of archiving language on skin. Poets will freestyle the sounds and syllables off of our bodies.

To RSVP, go to: Platform Pop Event

the only air we need brushing our bodies is the kind that leaves us alone.

This is why I remove my clothes in performance (sometimes). To remind others that skin is not as smooth as the billboards insist. Scars are not flaws, but art forms on our skin. Discoloration on flesh does not have to be evened out. Freckles are like shadows of constellations. All these imperfections are actually poems that get to be explained and sung and turned into movements or moments of celebratory emphasis.

it is not yet the end.

for K who lives beneath the moon.
“Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end” (Patel)

Nothing is thicker than love. That molasses you drip into metal bowl for the cookies you make this time of year does not compare.

The sky drenched in fog that forgets you need a light to get to the end of the block and causes you to lose track of space is not even close.

The layers that live beneath our steps that go from hot to cold to hot to mold and matter and all those animals, still alive, that arrived centuries ago. All that rock and soil, still not thicker than love.

Try to push it back. Challenge your stamina. Force it into padlocked closets, so dark that it is difficult to remember what really lives there.

Remember that you do not need another human to help you to feel this. Go without coffee for five days. Then, wake. Pour water and watch the bubbles heat. Measure the grounds and rain it into french press. Drown in heat. Sit. Wait. Drink with oat milk. That feeling is love too.

Sit inside a home that although locked and warm, is thin enough to remind you of the sirens and screams outside. Unhook your restricted thoughts. Call everything a poem, even your screams. Even the gashes of tears that interrupt your face. Each cough or sneeze. Each twitch of bone. PoemsLove.

Put on your shoes at 4am. Admit that you are still asleep and you can call this an interruption of night. Fill your skin with fabrics that are heavy enough to fix your nudity. Walk outside. Not too far, but enough to get a perspective of sound. Admit it is colder than you desire. Wrap scarf from neck around head and ears. Look up. Yes, like that. You know this as moon, but call it something else. Just catalogue how its thrill makes you feel. Count enough stars to make you lose track of the chill. Do not photograph this. Do not tell anyone of this late night encounter. Just feel it. Breathe in this entrance of genderless satisfaction. This feeling is detached from politics or trauma. It just is.

Stay away from others for awhile. Or. Move toward the ones that remind you of all this.

It is not yet the end